Flashback Product of the Week: 1969 Topps Bowie Kent Kuhn #1

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Commissioners are like presidents.  They have to deal with a lot of stuff leftover from the last one while trying to handle new situations.  Based on the decisions they make, some commissioners are liked a lot more than others.  Major League Baseball has had ten different commissioners over it’s history.  Each one has their pluses and minuses.  Thanks to the famous Black Sox Scandal, baseball now has one appointed commissioner.

Bowie Kuhn was baseball’s fifth commissioner (1969-1984).  During his reign, baseball saw the disappearance of the reverse clause, labor strikes, and a firm stance on drugs and gambling.  Its funny to think about, but at one time Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle were barred from baseball thanks to Bowie Kuhn.  After Mays and Mantle retired, both were still involved in baseball.  But they each went on to promote casinos too.  Kuhn wouldn’t allow them to work in baseball and be part of a casino at the same time.  So they each had to cut their ties with baseball for a while.  Kuhn’s successor would eventually reinstate both of them.  Its very common for one commissioner to redo or undo the actions of another.

Baseball executives like Kuhn do have their place in the hobby.  Topps made this card just for him in 1969, and its not part of the standard 1969 Topps Baseball set.  From the information that collectors have gathered, it sounds like Kuhn would hand these out at his discretion.  Its rumored that only a few hundred were printed.  Prices can be all over the place.  That dark colored border easily allows for chipping.  I’d expect to pay $500 to $1,000 for one in good condition.  You don’t see them a whole lot.  Its an easy set to complete given that there is just one card.

I wonder if Topps has ever given any thought to making special cards for athletes to hand out?  A special Allen & Ginter or Gypsy Queen parallel would be cool.  They could give them out to people during autograph signings or just whenever.  Those would be in huge demand as you’re not usually meeting athletes everyday.


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